AN EXCEPTIONALLY rare ‘Forest Rover’ Roadless Land Rover from 1959 has sold for over £100,000 at a North Yorkshire auction.

The vehicle, which is one of only six surviving models known, sold for £110,000 plus buyer's premium at Tennants Auctioneers’ Motor Car, Motorcycle and Automobilia Sale in Leyburn on Saturday.

The extraordinarily rugged version of the much-loved British classic was developed in response to the Forestry Commission’s need for a vehicle which could tackle the roughest of terrain.

In 1958 and 1959 the Forestry Commission produced their own test vehicles based on the Series I and Series II Land Rover to try and solve the problem, before they approached Roadless Traction Ltd of Hounslow to take over the project.

The prototype was sent to Rover’s testing facility for their official approval, and after 18 months of extensive testing, it was given.

Roadless Traction Ltd specialised in purpose-built tracked tractors and produced a diesel-engine prototype based on the Series II 109, with large flat panels replacing the front wings and rear tractor-type mudguards covering the over-sized wheels.

Roadless launched the vehicle in 1961 but it was not a commercial success, and it is thought that only between nine and 20 were ever built.